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WOMAN'S  LIFE                       143
represent the feminine but the idea of liberty, he is still more shocked. Why should Liberty be represented by a woman? And why should Victory and Justice and Peace be represented by women? The Greek ideal to him is new. For in the West man's imagination has somehow deified woman and conferred on her a spiritual, ethereal quality, representing all that is pure, noble, beautiful and unearthly.
To a Chinese, a woman is a woman, who does not know how to enjoy herself. A Chinese boy is told that he cannot grow up if he passes under a woman's trousers on the washing-line. The idea of worship of a woman on a pedestal and the exposure of woman's body are therefore manifestly impossible. With the seclusion of women, the exposure of the female form, both in art and in everyday life, seems indecorous to the extreme, and some of the masterpieces of Western painting in the Dresden Gallery are definitely classed under the category of pornography. The fashionable modern Chinese artists who are aping the West dare not say so, but there are Continental artists who frankly admit the sensuous origin of all art and make no secret of it.
But the Chinese libido is there, only dressed in a different expression. Women's dress is not designed to reveal the body of the human form but to simulate nature. A Western artist may see, through the use of his sensuous imagination, a female nude form in the rising sea waves, while a Chinese sees in the draperies of the Goddess of Mercy the sea waves themselves. The whole rhythm of a woman's form is modelled after the graceful rhythm of the weeping willows, which accounts for her intentionally drooping shoulders. Her eyes suggest the apricot, her eyebrows the crescent moon, the light of her eyes the silent waters of an autumn lake, her teeth are like the seeds of pomegranate, her waist like the weeping willows, her fingers like the spring bamboo-shoots and her bound feet again like the crescent moon. Such poetic expressions are by no means absent in the West, but the whole spirit of Chinese art, and the pattern of Chinese women's dress in particular, justify the taking of such expressions seriously. For woman's body, as body, the Chinese have no appreciation. We see very little of it in art. Chinese artists fail dismally in the portrayal of the